About Hive Young Writers Fest 2019

Hive Arvon retreat bursaries

Are you an emerging young writer aged (18 to 30 in South Yorkshire) keen to transform your writing practice?

Hive have teamed up with leading creative writing charity Arvon to support passionate young and emerging writers to further their writing goals via a number of bursary awards for Arvon residential courses.

You can apply for up to a 90% discount on a course taking place between April and early September 2019. This is an exciting opportunity to develop your writing, work with celebrated writers (both through workshops and one-to-one tutorials), and immerse yourself in a week dedicated to your chosen writing interests while meeting other writers from far and wide.

Arvon have three writing centres in Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire offering inspiring and transformative residential courses and retreats in beautiful surroundings led by highly acclaimed writers, spanning poetry to playwriting, song to screenplay, fact to fiction – from courses aimed at fledgling writers to the more advanced, and retreats offering focused time to write and finish manuscripts.

Who can apply?
Young writers with an interest in any creative writing form/s, from poetry and short story, to novel and script, all interests and starting points. You need to be at a point where you are committed to your writing, and have a portfolio that shows your development to date. This doesn’t mean you have to have been published or have a completely clear direction of where your writing is going. We are particularly keen to hear from young people from diverse backgrounds, and those who feel they wouldn’t normally access this kind of opportunity.

Open to young writers living, based or with a home address in South Yorkshire, from 18 to 30 years of age (at the time of attending their chosen course), who have not previously attended an Arvon away residential (Arvon City courses are fine).

Deadline for applications: 11.59pm Friday 5th April 2019 (note – this date has changed from 2nd April)
All applicants will be contacted by email by mid-April.

To view the courses on offer, and to apply and download the application form, see below.

Travel costs not included. Advanced rail fares can offer return tickets from £20 from across the South Yorkshire region to Arvon centres. Note the Shropshire and Devon centres will be more expensive to travel to (but bargain tickets can still be found in advance).

Arvon is a national creative writing charity that produces residential and city-based creative writing courses and retreats for schools, groups and individuals. Founded in 1968, many of the UK’s most prominent writers have taught on Arvon courses, including Carol Ann Duffy, Malorie Blackman and Simon Armitage. www.arvon.org

Kindly supported by Arvon, Arts Council England and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire.

Hatching a Cinema For All…

The wonderful Cinema For All have chosen young writers from Hive to become cultural film programmers, setting up inclusive film screenings for young people in Burngreave, Sheffield to inspire them to write.

The project, currently awaiting a name and led by young writer and singer, Danaë Wellington, will see Burngreave Library transformed into a cinema showing seminal liberation-through-the-power-of-words films including SLAM (Marc Levin/Saul Williams), Freedom Writers Diary (based on the true story of Erin Gruwell and her young Freedom Writers) and Straight Outta Compton (a biopic about west coast hip-hop collective NWA).

The project hopes to give out free writing journals and will support emerging writers to lead workshops exploring writing and poetry based at the library.

The Cinema For All initiative, Launchpad Hothouse, is providing training sessions, bursaries to cover the first film licenses, free-loan equipment, and Cinema For All membership for the year. Hive is supporting the young team through organising and marketing, and Danae Wellington through mentoring and delivering follow-on workshops as part of the Hatch programme – developing young writers for next steps.

It’s hoped that the project will join with another Sheffield Hatch project to showcase work in spring 2019.

Watch this space for updates!

Big thanks to:
Ellie Ragdale from Cinema For All who’s supporting the project, and to Marcia Layne and Erica Patterson at Burngreave Library

About Cinema For All
Cinema For All believes that watching films as part of a community can change lives. It supports grassroots, community, volunteer-led cinema and has an impressive 70-year history in the UK. Its office is based in Sheffield but it runs projects across the country. Traditionally community, volunteer-led cinema was found in more rural areas. These days, you’ll find it everywhere!

Find out more about Cinema For All at cinemaforall.org.uk

Penistone Grammar Anthology

We’re delighted to launch Penistone Grammar School’s wonderful student anthology – Everything that ever happened. Students worked with author and Hive facilitator Nik Perring over four after-school sessions. Although this wasn’t long, it proved to be a wonderfully fertile time as you’ll see – there’s a wonderful variety of stories and poems to enjoy.  You can read it here.

A huge thanks to all at Penistone Grammar School, especially to English teacher Miss Stokes who was wonderfully enthusiastic about getting this project off the ground, giving up her time and offered ongoing inspiration to everyone involved.

Hana Ready
Jake Fitzgerald
Rosie Morritt
Jake Fitzgerald
Nellie Webster
Rhianna Edwards
The Hidden War
Rosie Morritt
Joshua Power
Erin Parkes
Holly Prew
Hannah Frank
Laura King
Urszula Zobczak
Jess Firth
Hollie Smith
Joshua Power
Rachel Ward
Billie Rose
Annabelle Widdows

Supported by Penistone Grammar School

Hive young writer Sile wins BBC Radio presenting contract!

We are beyond excited to congratulate young writer, performer, presenter and all-round creative talent, Sile Sibanda, who, at just 21 years old, has WON BBC Radio Sheffield’s THIS IS ME presenting job!!

This couldn’t have happened to a more humble, nurturing, positive and hard working young woman. Sile is a joy to work with. When we saw the job we knew it was made for her. Sile has hosted various events for Hive and it’s been clear each time, she has a natural and warm talent for engaging people.

Off she went in December to the auditions at Rotherham’s New York Stadium along with 150 other people. And the standard, says Sheffield’s Lord Mayor Magid Magid, and presenter Toby Foster, was very high. Even shortlisting down to 15 they found it hard to pick the final 3, but there was Sile!

Since moving here as a young child from Zimbabwe, Sile has taken every opportunity with both hands. Always about giving back and enabling others, she has done tons of fab community work over the years particularly supporting younger children in her home town of Rotherham. Sile is exactly who BBC Radio Sheffield need on their team, and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to.

Massive congrats also to Matt Weigold and Abby Russell, both very deserving and talented (and also both spoken word poets!) Both were humble and gracious and thrilled Sile won. And really great of BBC Radio Sheffield, they are hoping to work with them both also in the coming months.

Tim Smith head of BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire said: “Although our teams are from all over, we do acknowledge that the BBC serves some more than others. There’s a lot of research been done and we can see the data now. Hopefully, by reaching out and recruiting beyond the usual channels, Radio Sheffield will be listened to by, and representative of, more people.”


Sile said: “I’m truly so, so thrilled. I can’t believe it. I said once, pointing to BBC Radio Sheffield, one day my picture’s going to be up there. And I didn’t know why, I just thought it might. And look!”

Sile, we’re thrilled for you
congratulations! 🙂

Photos: Sile with her younger sisters | proud mum & dad with Tim Smith from the BBC | with Matt Weigold & Abby Russell (the finalists)

Eloise Unerman named Barnsley Young Poet Laureate

Young Barnsley poet wins local accolade
Congratulations Eloise Unerman!

On 25th March, 19-year-old Eloise Unerman of Goldthorpe will be named Barnsley’s Young Poet Laureate in recognition of her ongoing literary achievements.

Eloise, who has attended Rotherham Young Writers since she was 14, has already achieved a huge amount of success including winning the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017 and being young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival earlier last year. Eloise has been apprentice poet for a while preparing for the role by writing poems inspired by Barnsley Museums’ collections and sites.

‘The exciting thing about poetry is that it’s a constantly evolving and changing art form, and it’s great that in Barnsley we have a new generation of poetry on the rise.” Ian McMillan

Visit Hear My Voice to book a place, and look out for a brilliant interview by Eloise with Ian McMillian posted after her appointment. 

About Young Poet Laureate, Eloise Unerman:
Eloise Unerman is a young writer from Goldthorpe, Barnsley who writes poetry and short stories, and is a member of the Hive Young Writers network and a recent new member of The Writing Squad development programme. She was awarded the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017, and her poetry has won first prize in the young people’s categories of the Barnsley Hear My Voice competition 2017 and the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2017. She has since been awarded young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival 2018 where was was commissioned to write her first poem.

Eloise received a commendation in both Photofictions 2014 and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017 and she was shortlisted for the New Poets Prize 2016/17. She has been published in anthologies such as: Anthology of Young Poets (Paper Swans Press 2017), Introduction X (The Poetry Business 2017), and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Online Anthology (The Poetry Society 2018). Listen to her read at Ledbury here.

About the Poet Laureate, Ian McMillan:
Ian McMillan currently presents The Verb on BBC Radio 3. He also writes weekly columns for The Yorkshire Post and The Barnsley Chronicle.

Ian is Barnsley’s Poet Laureate and ambassador for Hear My Voice a Barnsley based programme of creative opportunities, activities and poetry-themed events, designed to engage, stimulate and inspire interest in the spoken and written word. Check out The Verb

Stacey Sampson at Hall Cross Doncaster

On behalf of Hive, actor, writer and facilitator, Stacey Sampson recently worked with students at Hall Cross School in Doncaster. The group engaged in a mix of practical drama and writing exercises and Stacey spoke about her journey to being an actor, writer and everything in between! From joining a local theatre group as a child that led to her first professional gig as a teenager, to how she developed into writing for theatre, and wrote her first novel.

“It was great having Stacey come in. She stressed the importance of writing being about building from the ground up, and about memories being the best things a writer has. They are just stories waiting to be told.” Ciah, Hall Cross Student

“For me, finding a group of like-minded people was magic. I started youth theatre when I was 13 and discovered not only a ton of new friends (still my best buds 20 years later!) but also came into contact with professionals who put their heart and soul into supporting us, imparted incredible skills, and made sure we heard about every opportunity going to further our dreams. There was never pressure to be the next big thing, only to go at our own pace, hone our crafts and most of all, have fun. I became aware that careers in the arts were accessible – Even to me! And regardless of who decided to pursue that path, we all gained irreplaceable confidence to take with us into the world. Organisations like my youth theatre, and like Hive (Doncaster Young Writers) can be life-changing. You might not know it at the time, but such rich experiences and relationships forged in brilliantly creative surroundings set off sparks that burn long into your future.” Stacey Sampson

Thanks to Mike Dougherty, Head of Performing Arts for helping to arrange this visit.
If you’re a young person (14-19) in Doncaster, or at Hall Cross, and you like writing…join us! Free and relaxed sessions fortnightly. More info.

Stacey Sampson – actor, writer and facilitator

Stacey Sampson is an actor, writer and facilitator born and bred in Rotherham. She has worked in theatre, film and television for twenty years, and is known for her role as Jennifer in Channel 4’s This Is England series (’88 and ’90). Stacey is an Associate Artist with Third Angel and several other companies and her plays have toured nationally to theatres and non-traditional spaces.

She also specialises in collaborative writing and regularly works with schools, libraries, young offender programmes, mental health and homelessness organisations to create bespoke scripts and performances. Her children’s fiction has won the Mslexia Novel Competition, a Northern Writers’ Award and the Arvon Award.

Ideas of Britishness

Emerging young writers from Hive are currently working with writer Desiree Reynolds on a set of commissioned poems, for filmmaker Eelyn Lee, exploring their ideas of Britishness and identity. A selection of the work with be featured in a film Eelyn is making for FURD (Football Unites Racism Divides), exploring these ideas through poetry and interviews. The film will premiere at the Showroom on Tues 12th March, and will be circulated in schools and community settings to get people discussing the topics raised in different ways.

In partnership with Eelyn Lee & Furd (Football Unites Racism Divides)

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire

From Chorus to Verse: Reimagining Quirkus

From Chorus to Verse: Reimagining Quirkus
By Lydia Allison – Young Poet in Residence at Darts – Doncaster Community Arts

Before visiting the exhibition I had an idea of the values of the Quirky Choir, but entering the space brought everything very much to life. Three walls covered in bright photographs, interspersed with ornate metal ‘Q’s which each made a different sound, layered with beautiful recordings of the choir singing as well.

It was joyful to move around the room and see the expressions of the choir at different points in the creative process. I hadn’t realised before that many of the songs were originals written by and for the choir themselves. Moving up to the mezzanine floor I settled in to watch the documentary. I found this especially moving and very inspirational.

The poet Ian McMillan plays a major role in the choir and the songwriting; I was particularly interested in his idea of the ‘drawer of memory’. He described how this can mean different things to different people, and how the choir collaborated to make this song.

When I enter a space like this I have two closely wound strands of thought: my own writing and workshop activities. The drawer of memory sparked both. I started by creating a guided meditation script which would take us away from the exhibition and towards an internal imaginative world.

Trialing this fantasy I surprised myself by having a clear idea about the look of the drawers, but a distinct lack of the looked-for thing.

“Nothing in that drawer except for flowered paper, its repeating pattern of heads and stems varied only at yellowing edges and corners with small folds or tears. I had been looking for something but I can’t now put my mind on it.”

When I ran the activity with the group I was interested by the multiple experiences of the imagined space being nightmarish, something I felt I was edging close to as well (perhaps this is the difference between a room of writers and a room of singers!) This fed into the development of my own piece. While memories can be held by objects or songs, they may similarly be lost. I decided to imply unreality and unease by using descriptions at odds with themselves.

“I’m becoming a person who scares me. Look at where I am: this tiny enormous room in an up-kept, decaying stately home end-terrace. The flat bay window looks out on a postage stamp garden stretching acres of hedge as far as I can see. The cheap drawers slide ply on ply, glide shut with a soft-close click.”

I have chosen to present this as a prose poem, partly to contrast the choir’s original, and partly to allow the reading to run-on, maintaining pace and that dreamlike, falling-through quality. I did choose, however, to echo some musical features by bringing back repetition of phrases at the end, as a sort of refrain.

“I had been looking. Sun on dust motes in the dead of this winter night. The flowered paper. Something gone.”

Memory is significant to the choir and to my personal reaction to the exhibition. Music and song can hold an extremely strong and comfortable (even stubborn) place in our memories. I surprise myself how many hundreds of lyrics I know by heart, just as soon as the music begins to play.

This has also been a starting point for my writing around the exhibition. I have tried to use music and lyrics in different ways, for instance, to add texture to a narrative and add to the setting.

“I was trying to tell you something. Love and Happiness hissing tinny from headphones turned up full”

Finally, although this exhibition lent itself to personal reflection and memory, a significant aspect for me was the feel of shared experience and community. I ran an activity with the group where we shared favourite lyrics and wrote a contrasting response to them. This allowed us to all take something significant or serious and play with the meaning, giving our own voices a place, still linked absolutely with our relationship to song.

“There are people I’ll remember
all my life, though some have changed.
There are others I’ll forget
through sheer effort. Gone, living
only in a corner of my mind. OK. Not
forgotten, just put away. A lyric
that that comes back to me
every time that music plays.”

For exhibition details, visit here

Lydia Allison is a Sheffield-born poet, writing facilitator and creative mentor. She is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School (MA) and the Writing Squad.  Her work had appeared both online and in print, including in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, PN Review, Now Then, Ink Sweat & Tears, United Jotters, and PUSH. She enjoys a range of modern and contemporary writers. Her other favourite things in life are the Yorkshire countryside and cake for breakfast. Follow her on twitter @LydiarAllison

If you’re interested and an adult attending a group at Darts, let your group leader or Darts reception team know. Or look out for workshop announcements in the near future open to the public!

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire. Supported by Darts (Doncaster Community Arts)

Quirkus Exhibition – Soundscapes & New Found Words

Quirkus Exhibition & Workshop: Soundscapes & New Found Words
By Lydia Allison – Young Poet in Residence at Darts – Doncaster Community Arts

Quirkus (n.) /’kwɜkɘs/ 1. as in /quer.cus/ plants of the northern temperate zone; oaks from shrubs to great trees, as in “great acorns begat small oaks”. 2. as in /quirk.us/ this quirky choir, this song, this raising of voices, this blending of music and words. 3. as in quirky + us. Together and different. 4. as in quirky + circus. This theatre of unexplored ideas. 5. as in together and growing / as in join us / as in / 6. come in come in come in…

On 7th February I had the pleasure of running the first of three writing workshops based around The Point’s first exhibition of 2019 – a celebration of the Quirky choir’s 20th anniversary, with a lively group of adult writers at The Point.

The Exhibition
I knew of the choir and was eager to learn more about it. The exhibition sits in the lower gallery space and spreads up to the mezzanine where a documentary plays showcasing different contributors describing the choir and the various doors it’s opened. I found this extremely moving, particularly Ian McMillan’s fond descriptions of Janet Wood, and her open gestures embodying the general inclusivity of the group.

The photography on display is alive with personality and song, including images capturing the choir singing, rehearsing, and writing. Some of the photos are complemented by lyric extracts, and clips of traditional and ‘Quirky’ songs being played as well.

There are also a number of metal ‘Q’s which you can touch to make a sound – ranging from unusual sound effects to harmonious tones. I personally had a lot of fun trying out sounds, and combining some sounds to make my own kind of music with the choir!

The Workshop
We explored the gallery together making more combinations of sound, as well as starting to tap into the significance music can have to memory:

When I hear that song …
… “on the radio I explore life in a world of love and not what brought on the pain of 41 years […] back then I didn’t know any better, but now I have to turn it off when I hear it.”  Phil Maginn
… “I know I’m alive. The gentle hum reverberating through my body, my blood flowing in rhythmic pulses as my foot taps of its own accord […] this is it, this is life. Sing as one.” Louise Kerkoff
… “happy memories do appear, of joyful tears, of fatherhood as I but cradle my new life creation and dreams of what is to come […] how life’s wonderful” Neil Foulstone

The documentary inspired further writing activities, one of which was based on Ian MacMillan’s near-manifesto explored in the documentary “If you can’t read music, come in. If you haven’t sung before, come in. If you don’t think you can sing, come in.” We thought of further invitations, addressing ourselves or loved ones:

“If you can’t, won’t, work at your comfort while playing the piano, come in. No-one has to be an expert. The secret is to enjoy.” Mal Perkins
“If you can’t swim, come in, the water’s warm […] catch that wave!” Gareth Pendry
“If you can’t come in to socialise with other people, have a day off to an introverted dreamland […] lose yourself for a few moments” Sima Sha

We also worked together on making our own new words and definitions, based on the fascinating title of the exhibition. This led to a number of great insights into the significance and hidden meanings in everyday language, as well as some fantastic new blends, such as:

“Thive: a derivative of being alive and thinking.” Louise Kerkoff
“Thinkberries.” Rosie
“Pashappysion.” Phil Maginn

There is a strong feeling of community, inclusivity, and creativity surrounding this exhibition, and I can’t wait to be back again next week for another morning of writing and sharing at The Point!

For exhibition details, visit here

Lydia Allison is a Sheffield-born poet, writing facilitator and creative mentor. She is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School (MA) and the Writing Squad.  Her work had appeared both online and in print, including in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, PN Review, Now Then, Ink Sweat & Tears, United Jotters, and PUSH. She enjoys a range of modern and contemporary writers. Her other favourite things in life are the Yorkshire countryside and cake for breakfast. Follow her on twitter @LydiarAllison

If you’re interested and an adult attending a group at Darts, let your group leader or Darts reception team know. Or look out for workshop announcements in the near future open to the public!

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire. Supported by Darts (Doncaster Community Arts)